My short bio:

I've been flying for a little over a year now... and it's Christmas Eve and I'm stuck on Airport Standby, where we sit around the airport for four hours in case someone happens to not show due to traffic/weather/"sick" calls. Figured I'd pop on here during the holiday travel season and answer questions you all might have.

I work for one of the legacy US carriers (my proof photo might give away which one...) and work primarily domestic trips, though I've gotten my fair share of Europe and South/Central America. I've also been able to travel to every continent (except Antarctica) in the last year. As one of the few straight guys in the industry, I've gotten a unique experience unlike any other workplace I've ever been at.

I can't/won't answer questions that might identify me, nor will I answer questions relating to aircraft security. Also, I'm not speaking on behalf of my employer and my opinions are my own.

So go ahead reddit, Ask me (almost) anything!

My Proof: Edited Proof

Edit Im free! I didn’t get used, so I’m heading home. I’ll be popping in later tonight or tomorrow to get anything left.

Edit 2 I'm back for awhile! I'll just answer questions as they come in, until I fall asleep. I'll be back tomorrow morning (not spending the holiday at home, so I'll spend it on Reddit I guess)

Edit 3 Wow, this blew up overnight. I'll try to get to what I can today, but no promises!

Final Edit: Thanks for all the fish! And thanks to whoever gave me gold! If there's interest, I may do another one of these in three months - maybe scheduled?

Comments: 1612 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

Poj7326642 karma

Do you have any “regulars” that you see flying semi often?

What was the worst customer interaction you have had to deal with?

What is one thing you would love to do before you change jobs?

FriendlySkyGuy775 karma

1) I'm new, so I don't fly a usual route. I've had one family thrice now though, which was cool.

2) I had to take a drunk former NFL player (looked him up after) out of my galley when he wouldn't get the hint that my coworker didn't want to sleep with him. That was rough, and I would've been screwed if he had gotten any more violent.

3) I'd love to work a military charter.

mdneilson117 karma

For #3, why?

Lance77366 karma

My guesses would be:

Possibility 1) Loves a guy in Uniform.

2) Knows that if anyone gets out of line can just whisper to the CO/NCOIC and it's handled. Plus on military charters the people flying aren't expecting to be catered to hand and food, they're just happy they're not on a C-17/C-5.

mdneilson282 karma

1) OP said in another post that they're a straight male.

2) I can definitely see that. Military personnel are also likely more willing to listen to instructions and orders from the cabin crew.

FriendlySkyGuy420 karma

1) yeah I’m straight. But if there’s a female servicemember out there... ;)

I had tried enlisting years ago, but ended up not being able to. For better or worse, I feel a sense of civic duty.

But 2 is more along the lines. They’re more compliant and just happy to be on an airliner instead of a transport.

American_Standard171 karma

Let me tell you, given the choice between a military charter or a C-17, I'm choosing the grey tail every time. As soon as we're at altitude in those things, sleeping bags and ground pads come out, or hammocks get hung, and you are out like a baby for 9-10 hours of the trip.

Military charter aircraft are rarely nice. Imagine an aging 777 that has 90% cattle car class seating, worse food than a normal airline, and still ends up being more expensive for the command than paying for a service member to fly commercial.

FriendlySkyGuy127 karma

FWIW, when military charters fly with us, they're assigned a normal airplane from the fleet.

The food is worse, though. We serve what the charter pays for, and Uncle Sam doesn't pay for steak unfortunately.

SafeReturnDoubtful43 karma

I just flew military charter not too long ago and the food was actually pretty decent this time around. That being said, it was an older plane so the amenities weren't as cool or up-to-date as other ones I've taken. Kind of sucks for how long the flight is. Idk, some good some bad. The attendants were, as always, top notch. I imagine it can't be easy coming around an entire plane that size every hour to give grumpy servicemembers food or drinks.

FriendlySkyGuy9 karma

Trust me, I'll take a grumpy servicemember over a complaining drunk any day.

michaelrohansmith528 karma

Do you get any kids flying unaccompanied? Is it a lot of work for you when you have young passengers to keep an eye on? My son flew that way a few times when he was younger and he had great experiences both times.

FriendlySkyGuy698 karma

Yeah, especially during school breaks and summertime. It’s not a lot of extra work, and I like to have fun with them if they’re cool.

Even the most jaded flight attendants perk up at UNAMs

BOOOATS422 karma

Is there a “good” way to make your ears pop on ascent/descent? Pressure sometimes drives me crazy

FriendlySkyGuy622 karma

Look up scuba diving equalization techniques. One of those is probably your best bet.

MudButt2000325 karma

My aunt has been a flight attendant since the 80's. She only flies a dedicated route from somewhere in the US to Incheon international in Korea. And she only works first class.

How long do you have to be a FA before you can get on a cushy deal like that?

Also, I used to gamble in a city abroad near a big airport and I met a lot of pilots. The ones that stuck out in my mind are a china air pilot who said he only makes about 22k/ year and a British air co-pilot who said he gets laid in every city he flies into.

Were they being truthful?

FriendlySkyGuy430 karma

How long do you have to be a FA before you can get on a cushy deal like that?

Depends on the airline, the route, and which geographical base.

At my airline and base, to hold any position on that trip is at least 20 years. To hold business class (we're phasing out first), I'd say 25-30+. The Purser (FA in charge, has to have special training for it) for the NRT flights has been one of six people for as long as I've been here. I think the most junior has 28 years in.

We bid for our lines (schedules) every month, so as people take vacation, retire, or take a leave, the numbers can always change.

china air pilot who said he only makes about 22k/ year and a British air co-pilot who said he gets laid in every city he flies into.

China Air guy was probably new, and likely not lying. They aren't paid much when they start from my understanding. BA guy might've been gloating a bit, but if your standards are low enough, it's certainly possible.

mdneilson174 karma

Low pay is why I didn't become a pilot. In my area you started at around 45k after spending at least 250k to get your education. I heard that most in the left seat got their wings in the military, so no overhead.

FriendlySkyGuy168 karma

There’s less and less coming from the military but yeah, they have a huge advantage over civilian trained.

Most of the new right seaters I know now went through the regional gauntlet and have loans they’re paying off.

JLasto95 karma

At my last duty station I forecasted wx for a squadron where most pilots left active duty and went reserves, got hired on by a major airline, then dropped active reserve orders on the airline. They would go on finishing their career in the Air Force all while building tenure at the airline. So they would retire AF then go back to whichever airline with 20+ years tenure. This is possible through the soldiers/sailor's relief act, a company doesn't have to pay a salary but can not fire a member who has been activated. This practice never sat right with me...at least in this circumstance.

FriendlySkyGuy72 karma

Yeah, it's kinda scummy. If they froze the seniority where they were that'd be one thing, but I don't think they do. So now someone who's actually been flying for the airline for 19 years gets bumped down in the seniority list by someone who hasn't actually flown with us for awhile.

Those guys are usually pretty easy to pick out, and everyone gives them a wide berth.

BigTXsexy232 karma

I have a close friend that would like to explore a career as a flight attendant since she enjoys traveling. Would you have any advice for her? How can she prepare to become an extraordinary candidate when it comes to interviews or just the hiring process as a whole?

FriendlySkyGuy506 karma

First, make sure that she wants the job and not the glamour. It's easy to love travel when you're in Paris or Lima or Toronto. Less so when you're in Omaha, Bozeman, McAllen.

To prepare, get as much customer service experience on her resume as possible. Bonus points for supervisor roles. Be nice and personable. Learn a new language if it's possible.

There's a great facebook group called Flight Attendant Career Connection. Some woman runs it and tries to sell things to people (skip the non-free stuff), but the group itself is a good group.

And finally, do your research. Don't apply for American if you want to be based in Houston. Or United if you want Atlanta. Or Delta if you wanted Chicago. Understand the individual carrier's tattoo, commuting, and pay policies.

if you pm me later, I can give more detail.

lupulingarou53 karma

Are there airlines that are more tattoo-friendly? I've always wanted to be a flight attendant (I'm a people-pleaser who enjoys flying) but have been medium-heavily tattooed for like a decade so never really pursued it.

FriendlySkyGuy27 karma

If they'd show in a uniform, unfortunately, I'm not aware of any.

For my airline, so long as they don't show, you're fine. As a guy, we can have a sleeve, we just have to wear long sleeves all the time.

garydagat224 karma

Is retaining FA employees/career an issue? I fly international about quarterly and by in large, United FAs are older (guessing average 50s) and grumpier(often feel like it's a 11 hr trip to the DMV). I once had an FA in her 80s that couldn't close the overhead storage so had to ask a passenger to help her. On other airlines average age I'm guessing around 30s and way more friendlier.

FriendlySkyGuy296 karma

No, not really. At our airline, 5 years in is still considered to be fairly junior. At some bases, the reserve cutoff (meaning you get ta set schedule instead of being on call) is more than 10 years of seniority. That's usually the junior-most 20% or so. Furthermore, when we hire, we get flooded with applications. It's not hard to find excellent candidates.

But if the tired, negative, old, and worn down FAs don't decide to leave, there's nothing we can do to push them out. Our union is amazing, and they do a great job fighting for us. Sometimes too good of a job. Don't get me wrong, there's some amazing senior mamas and papas (our term of endearment for them) out there, from whom I've learned a ton and have a great deal of respect for. But there's some old hags folks who just have to go. If you can't close bins (assuming it's not a height thing, some of those are deceptively tall), I question how well you can open a 737 door in an emergency.

The other thing is also that in this profession, seniority is everything. The reason you see the older folks on the longhaul international is because that's what they want, and since they've been here the longest, that's what they get to work. The short, less productive, trips are worked by a newer staff.

crimetimestwo214 karma

Have you ever caught anyone having sex in the plane bathroom? If so, how did you deal with the situation?

Was there ever a moment where you felt like you were certainly going to be in a crash?

FriendlySkyGuy452 karma

Have you ever caught anyone having sex in the plane bathroom? If so, how did you deal with the situation?

Not yet. If they're being quiet and discreet, I'd probably let them finish on a longer flight. We're supposed to stop them, though.

Was there ever a moment where you felt like you were certainly going to be in a crash?

Yeah, I've prepped for an emergency landing twice. It's not fun, but we just fall back to our training and by the time it's over, it's like you were on autopilot and didn't really have time to freak out. Both landings ended up going okay.

lt7991114 karma

Can you tell me what would typically happen if someone gets caught having sex? Is it usually a charge right off the bat?

FriendlySkyGuy254 karma

Typically? No. If you get caught, you're told to stop. If you do, and you weren't going at in in your seat in front of everyone, most FAs would drop it then (we hate paperwork like everyone else)

If you cause a scene, then we'll have to write it up and tell the flight deck, and then things are out of our hands.

winwithaneontheend189 karma

I'm about to take my almost two year old on a six hour flight for the guitar time. What are some things parents in my position do that totally piss off the crew ? And what isn't always done but makes your lives easier??

Edit: yes, I mean "first time" not guitar time. Sleep deprivation is no joke people. Use birth control ;)

FriendlySkyGuy179 karma

I assume you mean first time, not guitar time.

Do:

  • Be completely self sufficient.
  • Remember that babies have a hard time adjusting to the pressurization and can't clear their ears like adults. Get them something to chew on before takeoff and landing, that generally helps.
  • Ask for help if you need it. take your time. board early if the airline lets you, and deplane later than others.

Don't:

  • Ask us for milk (you dont want ours, trust me), cooling (I don't have fridges), or heating (I'm not putting your bottles in our ovens).
  • Expect us to have entertainment for a baby for six hours.

Honestly, most FAs are fine with babies. The other passengers might raise more of a stink than we ever would.

ilovepuscifer176 karma

I recently witnessed something quite horrific in an airport in London. We were all waiting in line at the boarding gate and someone on the staff approached us to say that there’s too many bags to go in the overhead cabins and she’ll have to take some and put them in with the checked in luggage. Some passengers were happy to give their bags but a lady explained that she had some fragile and somewhat valuable things in there and she’d prefer to keep it with her. I won’t go into the details of what happened next but it ended with the bag being snatched from her hands and the lady crying and threatening to sue. So my question is have you ever seen something similar happening and do airlines really have that kind of power? Because to me, it seemed more like abuse and I was fuming.

FriendlySkyGuy236 karma

I'd want to hear the details, to be honest.

If there's really no room in the overheads, then there's no room. Either you go with your bags underneath, or you stay in town and watch the plane leave without you.

But a bag should never be snatched from someone's hands, and no, we don't have that power in the US or the EU.

BenZanotto52 karma

Can someone actually go underneath with the bags? Probably freezing ass cold but I'm betting there is some extra leg room.

FriendlySkyGuy139 karma

Legally? no.

Practically? Probably. It's pressurized the same as the cabin, but unless there's live animals onboard, it's going to be much, much colder.

mrivorey173 karma

I'm a child of a former pilot. How reliable is family, non-revenue flying these days? Back in the day, routes weren't flying 95-100% and we could easily jump on board with dad and spend Christmas with him on a layover in Vegas. I imagine it's much harder now.

FriendlySkyGuy175 karma

As companies work to increase their efficiency, it gets much harder.peak Travel days are hard, as are peak hours.

Having said that, I’ve only ever been left twice, out of easily 50+ non rev flights. We have better tools now to plan ahead and see loads in real time.

gibson7269166 karma

Hope your holiday ends up goin as well as possible!

My question is: What should I do about safely traveling with my guitar...in cabin... occasionally on a crowded flight? Hahah, oh boy. Because I frequently fly from BOS to DCA.

I can’t deal with the idea of checking it because I’ve had a guitar broken doing that. My favorite acoustic is very expensive and most videos on YouTube kind of give the answer of “hope for the best”

Thanks for your time :)

FriendlySkyGuy215 karma

Get on the plane as early as possible. Get in as early of a group as possible, depending on the airline, you might have to sign up for a credit card or pay for early access. If you ask nicely, we have closets that we sometimes have room in.

If you're flying BOS-DCA on a little barbie (regional) jet, hope and pray, my friend.

PMurSquanch129 karma

How often do you or your peers hook up on trips?

FriendlySkyGuy316 karma

Depends on the crew.

The older crew, not often, sometimes internationally. Some of them have been doing this 20+ years, so I guess at some point the novelty wears off.

The younger ones... speaking from experience, on an international widebody crew (staffed with 8+ FAs) with a junior crew, there's usually at least one person hooking up on a layover, be it with another crew member, local, or (rarely) a passenger. Domestically, it happens, but not as often.

As the only straight guy sometimes, it's nice, but hard to toe the line and not come across as a sleezeball. There's 25,000 of us, but in this job, your reputation precedes you anywhere you go. I know of at least two guys who aren't told of plans on layovers because of their reputation.

LWZRGHT35 karma

Have you observed these passengers woo the FAs? Are they just hunky enough that it's worth it for her?

FriendlySkyGuy24 karma

Answered:

2) In person, once. But she approached him. Every time I've seen a guy try, he fails. I've seen model-esque guys be shot down by girls who I didn't think were all that attractive. This guy was objectively a 7/10, but hilarious. She's one of the most attractive people I've flown with. He and I were shooting the shit in the galley on a longhaul while the other passengers slept. She came up and he kept cracking jokes. She offered as much information as she was comfortable with, and he never asked for anything. Last time I saw her, she was flying back to that city on her days off to see him again. Basically what I'm saying is: if you want to hook up with an FA as a passenger: don't try to hook up with an FA as a passenger.

obsessedcrf16 karma

there's usually at least one person hooking up on a layover, be it with another crew member, local, or (rarely) a passenger.

Woah. I find this kinda shocking

FriendlySkyGuy68 karma

Remember, only with the younger crews.

What's so shocking about 1 in 8 young and single people being horny?

xubax2 karma

I don't understand what layover plans they're not told.

FriendlySkyGuy32 karma

Let's say some members of a crew are going out drinking in London tonight for the layover. No one tells these guys, so they stay in the hotel and they can't be creepy with the rest of their crew.

While I'm back on this topic, It's not hard not to be a creep. Stop means stop, no means no, and yes means yes. If she's too drunk, (or you're too drunk) then bid them adieu and walk away.

SeenMyBaseball120 karma

How's O'Hare this Christmas Eve?

FriendlySkyGuy138 karma

I heard it sucked. Planes late due to de-icing. Some inbounds were being held at their departure airports.

kakakakeef110 karma

What are your thoughts on that doctor that got thrown off the plane?

FriendlySkyGuy247 karma

I'll come back to this later but the short and dirty answer is that there were errors made that lead up to the event. Though I think only one or two people involved actually worked for mainline, and not the express carrier who was operating the flight.

But anyways, we didn't drag him off. That was a chicago aviation department officer. I'm opposed to excessive violence in all forms.

Our CEO got himself in trouble by speaking too soon without all the facts, though some of us appreciated that he backed up the staff initially (in the past, management has been quick to thrown people under the bus).

Ultimately, I worry about what it opened the door to -- people are ruder on the plane, and much more confrontational for stupid things.

floridawhiteguy105 karma

As an older gay guy who's had his share of hookups with M FAs over the decades, I'm curious:

What percentage of <30/M FAs would you guess are not gay? It seems to me the great majority today aren't.

Or maybe my gaydar is going bad faster than my hearing or vision? =)

FriendlySkyGuy157 karma

Your gaydar is fading, I think. The vast majority of new hire young males are at least “bi” if not full on gay.

Straight males are definitely the exception, even today. I’ve been (playfully) interrogated before about me being straight by my crews.

StuTim116 karma

Straight male flight attendant here too. Took about a year to convince co-workers I'm not gay. I asked if I came off as gay or gave out that vibe and they all said no, it's just unusual for guys to be straight in this field.

FriendlySkyGuy106 karma

Yeah, it's not easy to convince someone you're straight. Even a girl I was hooking up with asked if I was straight.

It is weird for guys to be completely straight in this field.

realkingprep103 karma

Have you ever seen someone downgraded to coach or bumped off the flight entirely to seat someone the airline deems to be a VIP?

FriendlySkyGuy127 karma

Doesn’t happen with VIPs. I have a way to look up the VIPs flying with us, they’re almost always in first days before the flight.

Sometimes though, flights are oversold. That gets tricky and props to the GAs who deal with that.

Can also happen for security reasons. Can’t say more about that though.

Inzun87 karma

is it true that cabin crews use tap water to obtain hot water and they use it for tea and coffee?

FriendlySkyGuy138 karma

Yep. If you didn’t see it come out of a bottle, it could’ve been from the portable water tanks.

Tea and coffee always come from those tanks.

Some of us drink it, some don’t.

ManMan3673 karma

Which kinds of airline passengers are the most annoying to you?

FriendlySkyGuy332 karma

The ones who are so wrapped up in their own world they forget that they're traveling with 200 other human beings, and are being attended to by other humans.

Quick story: I had a medical situation on my flight. As I'm attending to it, as a second, more serious situation happens.

I leave the first passenger with one crew member and go to help the other two in the back by grabbing supplies (I thought we were gonna have to use the AED). I heard a call bell go off, but it didn't look important (no one was slumped down or layed out in the aisle like the other two) so I kept going. As I finish up the situation, the call bell rings twice. I run over, and this woman has the nerve to go off on me and yell that I haven't attended to her this whooollee time (we must've been in the air for 45 minutes out of a 3 hour flight) and she "needs a god damned diet coke." No care for the two people on the floor, or the flight attendants and EMTs that happened to bo onboard. No, no, this woman needed her Diet Cola.

Edward_Scout181 karma

I'm a firefighter/EMT and was once on a flight where they made an announcement asking for anyone with medical training to assist in the rear of the cabin. A passenger had become unresponsive and had some pretty serious medical issues going on. Myself, a nurse, and 2 FA's were working together in a cramped space to help this person while a 3rd FA was relaying information (not sure if they were talking to the deck or ground).

Thankfully we were already on initial approach so didn't have to divert but it was clear we would be met on the tarmac by rescue as we didn't have time to taxi to the gate. As we're doing our best for this individual a woman approaches and loudly says "um you need to move, I can't get to my bag, it's in that overhead." I'm sure one of the FA's was about to politely tell her to go away but another passenger got to her first with a very loud "Hey bitch this guy might be dying I'm sure your bag can wait. Sit the fuck down."

In the midst of a very serious situation, I couldn't help but notice that all three FA's had that smile that says "I could never keep my job and say that, but I'm glad someone else did."

Cheers to you for doing a job where some people treat you like a servant who's beneath them.

FriendlySkyGuy33 karma

The third FA was probably talking to the flight deck and medlink (a sat phone medical service we use for emergencies to help)

I couldn't help but notice that all three FA's had that smile that says "I could never keep my job and say that, but I'm glad someone else did."

Heh. I have that smile more often than I should. Love the passengers who say something like that, and more often than not, they find themselves with a free drink because of it.

And thanks to you for helping. I loathe thinking about the day where I have a medical with no help.

Uoarti25 karma

Why were there two people on the floor?! Simultaneous heart attacks?

FriendlySkyGuy9 karma

The first one was a severe panic attack who decided it best for them to curl up. The second, I still have no idea. I thought heart attack for sure (why I went and got the AED) but the EMTs said it wasn't.

Both ended up walking off the plane on their own power, the second into the hands of EMS at the arrival airport.

kitikitish70 karma

What's for dinner?

FriendlySkyGuy160 karma

Tonight? Auntie Anne’s. Maybe a sandwich if I go home unused.

kitikitish19 karma

Unused? Don't get sent out on a flight?

FriendlySkyGuy58 karma

I was on airport standby. We sit around the airport for 4 hours to quickly respond and get on a trip if someone gets sick, or can't make it in, or a crew gets stuck somewhere else.

Unused meant I sat my 4 hours and I got to go home at the end of it.

BourneHero69 karma

Why is it that most M FA'S are gay/bi? Haven't heard that and find it interesting. Is this only males or females as well?

What's the scariest moment you've experienced and/or heard of?

Any special flying tips you're able to tell us that could save money, get better treatment, etc...?

FriendlySkyGuy128 karma

Why is it that most M FA'S are gay/bi? Haven't heard that and find it interesting. Is this only males or females as well?

I have no idea. It’s a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy I think. Even the females tend to at least experiment.

What's the scariest moment you've experienced and/or heard of?

Lost 1 engine. The second started smoking heavily. 45 minutes from an airport. Not a fun time.

Heard of? 9/11. I know people who were flying that morning.

Any special flying tips you're able to tell us that could save money, get better treatment, etc...?

First, be nice. Most of us start the day happy, but somewhere along the line, someone tests us.

If you bring us stuff, we tend to notice ;) I’ll be honest, not everyone gives free stuff in return, but I’ll at least buy you a drink if you bring chocolates or a card or something — as do most of my coworkers.

I have no idea how to save money anymore but google flights was my go to when I did have to pay.

TheTaoOfMe49 karma

Huh... i had never considered bringing something for my FAs. Assuming i dont look like a crazy, would you trust something edible that i give you? I might have to try this on my flight back on tuesday! Let me know what you think would be the beet treat for them :) thanks!

FriendlySkyGuy81 karma

I'll eat stuff if it's wrapped. Personally, I won't eat home made stuff (sorry!)

Chocolates are popular. If you're somewhere with a local delicacy, that's always nice too. Hell, even a box of donut holes is appreciated. It's hard to go wrong with snacks and candy. Just make sure it'll keep without refrigeration, cause you probably aren't our only flight that day.

Edit: and THANK YOU for thinking of us!

C_Emerson_Winchester32 karma

I've heard about giving gifts to flight attendants but was never quite sure how it works. Like do you just hand it to one as you're boarding? Hit the call button after you've reached cruising altitude?

FriendlySkyGuy9 karma

Depends on the length of the flight, and how hectic boarding appears to be. If it's a short flight where you won't be getting up, hand it to the purser as you get onboard (they're the ones making the announcements at the boarding door).

If it's longer, after service is done, feel free to pop by in the galley after service and give it to us then. Some of us like interacting with passengers and you'll end up with a fun conversation. Some don't or may be busy with something but will appreciate the gesture.

dawnwalnut6 karma

Sign up for Scott’s cheap flights newsletter to save money on plane tickets! :)

FriendlySkyGuy5 karma

I'll vouch for it! The free version has some nice deals on occasion (never paid for it, sorry Scott)

rhaxx865 karma

Quick question, what types of flight benefits do you guys get?

FriendlySkyGuy170 karma

I fly for free domestically (taxes only), and have heavily reduced rates overseas. I get 1 friend or spouse that flies at my level, at my cost. My parents have benefits as well. My kids (if I had them) would have benefits.

And then there's buddy passes for friends, which I try to never use.

Cuttlefish8849 karma

Why do you try not to use the buddy passes? People would hit you up for them too much?

FriendlySkyGuy55 karma

Too much hassle. If they're an idiot, I get in trouble. If they get stuck, they get mad at me.

Easier to just tell people no.

drumminslife64 karma

Don't mean this to be too crude but how often do you feel passengers truly join the "mile high" club? Is it totally just a madeup construct for TV and movies or do you actually notice people trying to do it on some sort of regular basis?

Edit Oops, this was already asked, sort of.

FriendlySkyGuy77 karma

I haven’t seen it, but I know crewmembers who have.

And some who’ve joined the club themselves ;)

-fuck-off-loser-61 karma

Do you ever drink pickle juice straight from the jar?

FriendlySkyGuy299 karma

You ever drink baileys from a shoe?

michaelrohansmith56 karma

Ah the Ited airline.

Tell me, how does the airline balance the meals, and how well does it work? As SLF I always feel guilty when I get the same meal as other members of my family.

FriendlySkyGuy84 karma

Domestic First, meals are provisioned based on the route and time of day (we submit feedback when one entree is or isn't popular). We take orders left to right, front to back. Usually everyone gets their first choice (of 2) but we're supposed to make sure the top tier status always does, even if they're in 5F.

International gets more interesting, with the same basic rules in the front cabins, but more choices. In coach, it's first come first serve of two or three, unless you've requested a special (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc) meal ahead of time. There's always someone who wanted pasta/chicken but didn't get it. Unfortunately, at 38,000 feet, there's not a ton I can do.

lost18k54 karma

how do you get over the fear that the plane can crash at any time?

FriendlySkyGuy197 karma

You almost don’t. 5 weeks of training are dedicated to emergency procedures. We just hope to never have to use that training. But if something happens, I have a worse chance of surviving than you do. It’s why we’re so cranky about seemingly benign things (laptops away, tray tables up, things unplugged, etc) sometimes.

If the job was all serving cokes and meals, they’d’ve replaced us with vending machines years ago.

michaelrohansmith77 karma

I saw a TV show about a simulator for cabin emergencies. They send cabin crew in to the sim and present them with emergency scenarios. Anyway the funny bit for me is that in the control booth there is a button to press in case of a real emergency, like if the simulator catches fire while simulating a fire.

FriendlySkyGuy79 karma

Funny, the simulator is where we do our initial training and annual re-qualification And that one also has the emergency button hahaha

Saurbaum31 karma

I got to see the results of the training you guys go through when the plane I was on almost landed at Heathrow.

Impressed with how well the crew handled getting everyone off. Keep up the good work.

FriendlySkyGuy28 karma

Thanks!

nothing_showing43 karma

Is it acceptable/ normal to tip FAs for drink purchases?

I don't want to make you feel like a "waitress in the sky" because your job is obviously much more than the service aspect, but if it's acceptable/ appreciated, I want to do so. Thanks!

FriendlySkyGuy85 karma

We’re supposed to politely decline once before accepting.

It’s not common, but it is appreciated! Just keep in mind there’s more than one of us on the plane, so I’d only do it if you received exceptional service from one of us in particular.

ghesus43 karma

Is it true that I couldn’t be a FA, cuz I’m 6’ 6”? Also do you get to spend much time at destinations abroad or domestic? Like to see things or people?

FriendlySkyGuy84 karma

Depends on the airline. Too tall for ours but they go off your drivers license and don’t measure you themselves.

Domestic can be as short as 8 hours (which is a joke but it happens). International is usually at least 24 hours, but most of the time you really only get about 10 hours to explore and you’ve got to sleep twice in that timeframe.

s1lv3rbug42 karma

I heard stories about water on air plane. I only get coffee when I'm flying. Should I get pepsi or something next time? Honestly, what is the water quality on the plane? Thanks.

FriendlySkyGuy87 karma

Coffee (and tea) comes from the potable water tanks. There's nothing wrong with the tanks, but like I told someone else:

those tanks are filled at many airports by many different people, and cleaning them is hard. And when you’re on three or four planes in a day, it increases our exposure that much more, so we don’t [drink from them]

I generally won't drink the coffee unless I really need it. And if I have time, I'll make my own using the bottled stuff.

I stick to the bottled, boxed, or canned stuff. It's up to you what you prefer.

captainjustin41 karma

Hey SkyGuy, thanks for the AmA.

I recently got hired by a flight agency and had a major concern coming into the force. Over ten years ago I had of a mental breakdown and I have two cuts on my left arm. They aren't huge but they're definitely noticeable if you really looked at it. I can cover it up partially with makeup but, again, it's only partially, and I know that can only be a temporary fix.

I was wondering how the medical evaluation for you was and if they really check your arms for scars like these. I was also wondering how it would be like in the long term; would I have to use makeup forever? What would happen if another coworker saw them and asked about them? Is this a fire-able offense? If they will be a problem, what are some tips for me that would help remedy this situation?

FriendlySkyGuy69 karma

I don't work for a corporate flight agency, so I don't know their policies.

But for us, scars generally aren't an issue, unless they're prominent. If they are, or you're personally uncomfortable with it, we have a long sleeve option for males and females that would be plenty fine.

In terms of covering it up, I hear mixed reviews on dermablend, and your airline may allow bandaids.

In any case, I hope you're okay now.

mariataytay38 karma

I'm absolutely terrified of flying. I take medication for anxiety attacks before the plane, and attempt to let flight attendants know about it, but honestly have no idea how to handle it. I hate feeling like I'm taking too much of their time, or concerning other people around me. How would you like someone to tell you? And are there any tips for flying for someone who is scared?

FriendlySkyGuy76 karma

Absolutely tell us! We'll check on you during the flight. Most of us have friends or family that are nervous fliers too, we understand.

As to how/when, If it's a long flight and you have a chance to get up and walk to a galley, come find us and chit chat for a bit once the service is done. If it's not a super long flight and you can't really get up, try to catch one of us standing during boarding or during the service.

Don't worry about the other people around you, that's my job.

Tips, unfortunately, I don't have any flying specific ones, sorry! General anxiety ones I've picked up though include making sure your diet is balanced (and you're not changing it too much before a flight), avoid caffeine, sugars, and alcohol. Find a good breathing app for your phone and dod breathing exercises. Learn to properly meditate. Personally, I like tight clothing when I'm anxious (I like hugs, and tight clothing is close enough sometimes) but if you get claustrophobic, wear loose clothing.

noTSAluv36 karma

  1. When you first became a FA, what were things that disappointed you about the job?

  2. Have you seen any of your female colleagues (FA's) being picked up by passengers and actually hooking up?

FriendlySkyGuy132 karma

1) I don't know that I was disappointed with anything -- I'd done my research and I knew most of the downsides going into the job. The biggest thing I wasn't expecting is the lifestyle change. You start and end every trip at your home base, but that doesn't mean you start and end every day at that base. A three day trip might take you through 8 cities, and you may wake up and go to sleep at different cities each of those days. I've woken up and not known what city, state, or even country I'm in.

2) In person, once. But she approached him. Every time I've seen a guy try, he fails. I've seen model-esque guys be shot down by girls who I didn't think were all that attractive. This guy was objectively a 7/10, but hilarious. She's one of the most attractive people I've flown with. He and I were shooting the shit in the galley on a longhaul while the other passengers slept. She came up and he kept cracking jokes. She offered as much information as she was comfortable with, and he never asked for anything. Last time I saw her, she was flying back to that city on her days off to see him again.

Basically what I'm saying is: if you want to hook up with an FA as a passenger: don't try to hook up with an FA as a passenger.

Skunkies26 karma

I am 38 years old, I want to do this job, have for many years, but am stuck in a factory currently, whom do I apply though and where?

FriendlySkyGuy46 karma

Each airline hires as they need. There’s a Facebook group (and website) called Flight Attendant Career Connection that’s a great place to start.

United and Delta were hiring last I heard. So we’re a ton of regional carriers

Lee_Ars25 karma

Not sure if you're still taking new questions, but since you're with *ited, I wanted to ask some questions about the mysterious global services tier:

1) I've been on *ited flights before where I've upgraded to 1st with miles, and saw a couple of global service people (they boarded with the GS group) sitting in premium economy. Aren't GS people automatically upgraded prior to miles upgrades? I thought it was the ultra-ultra-ultra service tier.

2) What exactly are the global services entry criteria? I know it's invite-only, but would love to know exactly how much these people are flying.

3) Is there any VIP tier "above" global services? Like, if for some reason a AAA celeb or famous athlete has to fly commercial and they're on your flight, do they have a giant flashing red circle around their names in your system?

4) I primarily fly into and out of IAH, and United just reconfigured the terminal C entrance so that there's now a huge (and well-guarded) Global Services checkin area behind smoked glass. In your opinion, is there any chance they'd let a usually-Silver-sometimes-Gold plebe like me into the GS area to look around if I asked, or would that just result in me being tossed out onto the streets as if I'd tried to invade a high-class country club?

Also, I learned from this AMA that I can (and probably sometimes should) give small gifts to the cabin crew. Never thought of doing that, but it sounds like an awesome idea. Thanks!

FriendlySkyGuy10 karma

1) No, they're at the top of the CPU list, but if you used miles, you're above the CPU list I believe.

2) There's a wonderful thread on flyertalk dedicated to this

3) Chairman's Circle. Never actually seen one, though. Actually, I've never seen any company personnel talk about it. Only online, so it may not even be a real thing.

4) You can certainly ask. If they're not busy, they might be willing to give a tour. The key is being nice, and them not being busy, though. I've gotten one in ORD, so it's certainly possible

linemechanic21 karma

Company mechanic here. Did you ever get called reserve trip on a 747? And if so, did you pull out the strainer and wash coffee grounds down the sinks while the old ladies danced and celebrated with wild abandon?

I swear the menopausal majority of our senior flittizens are just looking for new ways to make our lives worse.

Serious note; stay safe and good luck getting your rest in during the holiday season. And be good to the mechanics!

FriendlySkyGuy9 karma

Hahahahahahahaha you just made my day dude. Never had the pleasure of working the 747. I wasn't in the right base for it. But I do that with the 737 rear galley sink :P (kidding, of course)

Thanks, you too! Stay safe and warm! And I try to offer you guys things (water, soda, snacks, etc), but no one ever takes me up on it! I appreciate y'alls job so much.

leclittoris12 karma

Good pay? If so, whats the best way to get hired? Experience, education, etc

FriendlySkyGuy44 karma

In contrast to /u/NarcissusNoir, I don't hold a line (so I'm on call). My anniversary is late in the year, so I was on the first year payscale for most of this year.

It looks like I made ~$38k.

Not bad on the surface (especially once you factor in flight benefits), but when you consider that we live in some of the most expensive areas in the country (major metropolitan areas, close to airports) and spend plenty of nights away from home and in hotels... A lot of us live paycheck to paycheck, myself included.

jwdundee14413 karma

When you have to overnight somewhere how much of the tab does the airline pick up? Rooms, meals, etc.

FriendlySkyGuy28 karma

My airline picks up our rooms and transportation to/from the airport.

Meals come out of our pocket, but we're paid a decent enough per diem for it.

areeyesee11 karma

Why can’t people pick up their trash? Especially after FAs have been up and down the plane 5 times with a trash bag announcing it. :(

FriendlySkyGuy14 karma

Honestly, most people are in their own bubble on the plane, and pay no attention until we turn the lights back on for final descent. And that's when they want to get up, use the lav and throw things away.

It's part of the job.

Mexcellentay8 karma

Obviously... How much banging actually happens when your a mile high and not in Denver?

FriendlySkyGuy17 karma

Not a ton. If we’re caught, it’s grounds for termination. If passengers are caught, they can get fined.

But it happens, I hear.

yo_bandit8 karma

I want to get into FA. I have one tattoo on my wrist. Does that disqualify me? I have about 17 years in hospitality but many rules say absolutely no tattoos, especially not visible. I'm a guy if that can get a better answer.

FriendlySkyGuy16 karma

Depends on the airline. Do your research. Frontier, for example, doesn't allow any. My airline does, so long as it's covered up in uniform.

If you have to wear a watch, or makeup, or a bandaid to cover it, do it. But make sure the airline is okay with that first.

scCitySaint5 karma

Who do you think is going to win WWE's Royal Rumble next month?

FriendlySkyGuy8 karma

I wouldn't even know where to begin guessing. Haven't watched in years

derkajit4 karma

Are lap babies supposed to be secured via small attachable seatbelt, or are they better off in parents’ arms?

Lufthansa always brought a small seatbelt to attach to the main one, however last week Hawaiian said something like “... new FAA regulations... actually... babies better off in parents’ arms...”.

The thing is: I googled it for a minute and a half, but haven’t found any specific FAA regulations regarding those belts (only “recommendations” to use FAA approved compatible carseats...).

Thank you and be safe!

FriendlySkyGuy4 karma

It depends on the regulatory body. In the US, lap babies should be held in the parent's arms, with no other attachment. EU flagged carriers add that second strap, I think. I don't recall any "new" FAA regulations on it, but I don't have my work phone powered on to double check right now.

Remember, most of the safety rules come from worst case scenarios, so they may not make sense in the context of every day operations.

ashleecakes2 karma

How much hooking up is going on between the pilots and flight attendants?

FriendlySkyGuy8 karma

It happens.

One of my roommates is hooking up with one. I can't imagine there's any hard numbers anywhere though

fungez12 karma

Is 5'6'' too short for a male to be a FA? Are visible tattoos/piercings allowed? thank you

FriendlySkyGuy4 karma

Not too short I think, and it depends on the airline, but most will want them covered by the uniform. Piercings would have to be removed as a guy at all airlines im aware of.

hcue2 karma

How much do you enjoy PassengerShaming on Instagram??

FriendlySkyGuy2 karma

I don't follow it. I try to keep my work at work. What happened on the aircraft stays behind when I leave the airport.

Sledge8242 karma

How do you get into the business? Is it just an online app? What is the process?

FriendlySkyGuy7 karma

In order?

Online app, some assessment, video interview, in person interview, 6 week training class.

DrJeXX2 karma

Quick question here. Why in the fuck do some airlines (United I'm looking at you) decide to let their planes take off early without all their passengers onboard? I had this happen to me last year in Dallas, it was total horseshit. It left half hour ahead of time with 20+ passengers being left in the airport. I have heard this happening before and have ask what fucktard thought it was a good idea?

FriendlySkyGuy6 karma

It does happen, but very, very, rarely. How did they take off 30 minutes early? We typically don't start boarding most domestic planes until 35 minutes or less before departure. FAs aren't required to show up to the plane until 45 minutes before departure. OTOH, Passengers must be on the bird 10 minutes before scheduled push.

In any case, the decision to go or not go (go early, or delay for passengers) is made by someone at the ops center in Chicago. They weigh a ton of things like weather, loads, availability to rebook, where the passengers are coming from or going to, and send the decision to the crew and the gate agents.

Inzun1 karma

Another question, how do I get free upgrades when flying? My father doesnt like paying for business class most of the time, but even if he does, it is for my mother and himself.

FriendlySkyGuy5 karma

The days of a true free upgrade are long gone, unfortunately.

mariataytay2 karma

From experience it's flying often. My dad has gold status on delta (or higher, I can't remember) and always gets upgraded.

Inzun2 karma

my parents never bother redeeming their points to change their membership type. they have been flying quite often recently

FriendlySkyGuy3 karma

Unless they're flying upwards of 25,000 or 50,000 miles, all on one carrier, they likely don't have status.

It's not something you redeem points for.